Korea moves to get more young people jobs

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Korea moves to get more young people jobs

The Korean government has devised additional measures to help young Koreans find jobs as the youth unemployment rate continues to be high.

The Ministry of Employment and Labor said Wednesday that it will give 3 million won ($2,669) to up to 5,000 young Koreans from low-income households and those who find jobs through state-run job counseling centers. The government, however, said that it hasn’t decided if it will distribute the payments at once or over a period of time.

The government also will lower tuition for college students delaying their graduation to find their jobs. The new policies come as the youth unemployment rate, or the rate for people between 15 and 29, is higher than the overall population. In February, the youth unemployment rate was 12.3 percent, while the overall unemployment rate was 5 percent.

This is the 10th economic policy to boost the youth labor market from former president Park Geun-hye’s administration. This latest plan to improve the labor market for youth was announced in April, but details were revealed this week.

“The government will give up to 3 million won to 5,000 job seekers that are younger than 34 years old and low-income households with no college degrees,” said Song Jin-hyuk, a director at the Labor Ministry.

It also will increase the ceiling for low- to mid-interest rate personal bank loans that young Koreans can take from 8 million won to 12 million won.

The government will also lower tuition for college students who are delaying their graduations to find jobs. Many Korean college students delay their graduations since they believe it is better to submit job applications as degree candidates rather than as unemployed. They pay nearly 1 million won per semester to extend their student status.

The Labor Ministry also said it will create a 116.9 billion won fund to help young Koreans start businesses and will allow more young people to postpone their military service if they are starting up businesses. Currently, the government allows only people who receive at least a bronze medal at the state-run start-up fairs to delay their military services by two years. But the government will extend postponements to those who have good investment performances in start-up businesses.

“We will also hire 63,000 people this year in the public sector,” said Song at the Labor Ministry.

The government has said it will hire more than 60,000 this year in the public sector but hasn’t announced its exact figures. Song said 47.2 percent will be hired in the first half of this year.

According to the Labor Ministry, 30 percent of public jobs will be designated for those who have disabilities as soon as possible.

“We will focus on increasing jobs available for the youth while recovering the domestic economy,” said a ministry official.

BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]
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